A column by BOB LONSBERRY
Kathy Hochul’s housing plan is an effort to colonize rural and suburban New York, displacing longtime residents, devaluing their property and breaking up the remaining Republican strongholds in what was once the Empire State.
Based on the ridiculous assertion that New York leads the nation in outmigration because of a lack of subsidized housing, the governor has called for the government-mandated construction of 800,000 low-cost housing units across New York State. Not just in New York City, but in every town and village across the broad, green expanse of rural, Republican New York.
In communities with shrinking populations, and in school districts at half to two-thirds of their historic enrollments, she declares that the problem is too little subsidized housing. Virtually all of the New York diaspora is middle and upper class families – people driven away from their hometowns by oppressive state regulations, a lack of freedom and opportunity, and one of the worst economies in the nation – and she says the answer to that is more government-funded housing.
Specifically, low-income housing towers and apartments.
So she is going to set a quota for every town and village in the state, declaring how many new low-income housing units it will have to build. When the marketplace or a community fails to meet its government mandate, the state will direct projects to the community.
And it will do so by suspending local zoning and planning authority and imposing low-income projects, mostly built with taxpayer money, on suburban towns and rural villages. For emphasis: These housing projects will be built without regard to local zoning.
That means that single-family zoning is dead in New York. The suburban and rural American model of a neighborhood of single-family houses – long the target of progressive anger – will be no more. That means that the value of most families’ biggest investment – the home they live in – is destabilized and probably destroyed.
It might not be polite to say so, but any real estate agent will tell you: Nobody wants to live next door to a subsidized apartment building, and the value of a home in that situation plummets.
Yet these state-mandated housing projects will be foisted upon towns and villages all across New York. No exceptions. It doesn’t matter the local economy, it doesn’t matter how rural. The governor has decreed, and so shall it be.
The low-income housing will be built.
Which raises the question: Who will live in it?
Certainly, there are plenty of poor people in rural upstate New York. The policies of Kathy Hochul and her patron, Andrew Cuomo, have made sure of that. Stretches of upstate New York are among the poorest in the United States of America with very high rates of welfare dependence. Upstate is the new Appalachia.
But the rural poor are sparse and currently housed.
Which gets back to the question: Who will live in this subsidized housing?
Gosh, in a sanctuary state, who could guess?
The inflow of people to New York comes significantly from illegal aliens and people drawn by the state’s Cadillac welfare benefits. The New York population flow of the last decade has been producers out and consumers in – people who pay taxes leaving and people who consume taxes arriving. By forcing new subsidized projects all across New York, the governor creates a settlement and colonization infrastructure for this influx. She pushes folks relying on welfare programs out of the cities and into every community in the state.
To the political benefit of the governor and her confederates, this forces a great many people who tend to vote for her party into areas that tend to vote against her party. It’s no coincidence that the communities she pointed to first as targets of her housing plan are communities that voted against her in last fall’s election and which sent to Congress the individuals who gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives.
This program will have the impact of making sure that doesn’t happen again.
This isn’t about any “housing crisis,” this is about social engineering. It is about cultural cleansing, and changing communities and lifestyles which the governor and her party disapprove of and look down upon. When Andrew Cuomo said there was no room in New York for “extreme conservatives” he was laying out a mission statement. When Kathy Hochul said Lee Zeldin and his supporters weren’t “real New Yorkers” and should move to Florida, it wasn’t rhetoric, it was policy.
Most of the people in the towns and villages of upstate and Long Island don’t vote or think the way the governor and her Democrat comrades vote and think. The suburban and rural communities of New York are the philosophical enemies of woke progressives, looked down up and targeted over and over for harassing and pestilential policies.
And this is to be the stake through the heart.
By destabilizing single-family communities, by flooding in through government mandate and policy new people of different backgrounds, by colonizing its backward upstate possessions, the state seeks to flush the cultures, traditions and people built up over 200 years. Tyrants have done it throughout history. You conquer and then displace or eliminate the people you don’t like.
That’s what Kathy Hochul and her party are doing.
This isn’t about xenophobia or classism or any other sort of prejudice. All are welcome in our towns and villages, and all are family. But the government decreeing and demanding is not a natural process and it is not respectful of freedom.
Local people have always had a right to plan their communities, they have always had a right to control their own zoning.
But in New York, under the governor and her party, no one has any rights anymore.
And she is doing everything she can to make us stop being us.
Bob Lonsberry, a Canisteo native, is the father of nine children, a veteran of the United States Army, and a newsman for nearly three decades. The former newspaper columnist, reporter, and author, is a marathon runner. You can hear Bob mornings on NewsRadio WHAM 1180 in Rochester and NewsRadio 570 WSYR and 106.9 FM in Syracuse. You can reach him at [email protected]